There's good news for parents who are tired of having their toddlers getting their grubby little paws on their BlackBerrys and other smartphones while they're not looking. Leapfrog has announced a product called the Text & Learn or--as it's sure to be known in the blogsphere--the "baby BlackBerry."
Now kids can mimic their parents and send text messages and check their schedules at all hours of the day. The device, which is a bit bigger than your average BlackBerry, is geared toward preschoolers who are just learning to spell and includes games that focus on spelling and basic computer skills.
Virtual pal Scout is onboard to help; youngsters can exchange text messages with the little guy and check Scout's planner for meeting conflicts (OK, I'm kidding a bit there), and explore in a "pretend" browser mode. Other learning activities include letter matching, shape identification, and QWERTY keyboard navigation.
The Text & Learn was unveiled at the U.K. Toy Fair this week and isn't supposed to be announced in the U.S. until next week, but we do know it will be available this summer and will cost $25. No, it doesn't have any sort of wireless capabilities (what did you expect for 25 bucks?), though it'd be scary if it did.
Comments? Do we live in a sick world or is this a great tool for teaching tots to spell?